Canon Unveils World’s Smallest DSLR, The SL1, Along With Barely Updated T5i Entry-Level Rebel

Canon has indeed introduced a new, very small DSLR as rumored earlier in the week. The SL1 (as it’s known in the U.S.) is “world’s smallest and lightest DSLR camera,” the company says, with a body that’s around 25 percent smaller and 28 percent lighter than the Rebel T4i. It packs a new 18 megapixel APS-C sensor, Digic 5 processor, and 9-point AF system with a single center cross-type.

The AF system also boasts a brand new Hybrid CMOS AF II sensor, which makes the focus area wider for shooting in Live View with either still photos or video, and what Canon advertises as improved AF speed vs. existing EOS cameras when tracking moving subjects. The SL1 is available in a kit with a new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, which has a smoother, quieter onboard AF motor designed specifically for video shooters.

On the back there’s a 3-inch touchscreen display, which doesn’t articulate the way the one built into the T4i does, but still people have been very impressed by Canon’s implementation of touch screens on cameras and multi-touch support. The SL1 has a native ISO range of 100-12800 for stills, and 100-6400 for video, and can shoot continuously at up to four frames per second.

The SL1 will live or die on its size and weight, however, all other specs aside. Canon is clearly marketing it as an option for consumers looking for something more portable to bring with them on vacation or on sightseeing excursions. The problem is, that’s a market neatly addressed by competitor mirrorless camera lines, like the Olympus OM series and Sony’s NEX shooters. Canon’s own EOS M was criticized for flaws like AF performance, and this seems to be an attempt to make up for that deficiency.

The Canon SL1 will ship sometime in April, with a price tag of $649 for body only, or $799 for body and lens kit.

Canon also unveiled an update to its entry-level regular-sized Rebel with the T5i. The T5i has an 18 megapixel sensor, as well as a Digic 5 processor. It has a 9-point AF system, but with all cross-type points, 5 frames per second continuous shooting rate, and a Hybrid CMOS AF system, (though not the new one that’s in the SL1, judging by the release). It’s available in a kit with the new 18-55 STM lens, too, just like the SL1.

The new T5i is in virtually all ways the same as its predecessor the T4i, at least on paper. It also features a vari-angle 3-inch touchscreen display, and in fact any changes look to be in the design of the casing and slight changes to dials. Canon’s “iteration” this time around seems to not really be one at all, so if you’re a current T4i owner you’d be best to stay clear. If you can’t find a T4i for less, at least you’re still getting a great (if apparently unimproved) camera with the T5i.

The Canon T5i retails for $749 for body-only, and $899 bundles with the new 18-55mm STM kit lens. It’s also said to be shipping sometime in April.